Dodgers 9, Angels 8

A.J. Ellis hit a grand slam against Jason Vargas for his first

homer of the spring, Luis Cruz doubled home two runs and the Los

Angeles Dodgers beat the Angels 9-8 Friday night in their

next-to-last game of spring training.

Josh Beckett threw 80 pitches over four innings to get the win

despite giving up seven runs on nine hits, including a three-run

homer by Mike Trout and a two-run shot by Albert Callaspo.

Beckett is about to embark on his first full season with the

Dodgers after coming over from Boston in a blockbuster nine-player

trade on Aug. 25. He finished the spring 0-1 with a 10.12 ERA in

five starts – including five home runs – and surrendered 14 earned

runs in eight innings over his final two outings. His season debut

will be Wednesday night against the World Series champion San

Francisco Giants.

Paco Rodriguez got his second save of the exhibition season,

facing one batter and throwing a called third strike past

pinch-hitter Luis Jimenez with runners at second and third after

Brandon League gave up an infield RBI single by Andrew Romine.

Vargas threw 60 pitches in just 1 1-2 innings, giving up eight

runs and seven hits. The 30-year-old lefty, who joined the Angels

in a trade that sent slugging first baseman and DH Kendrys Morales

to the Seattle Mariners on Dec. 19, finished spring training 0-1

with a 7.54 ERA in six starts. His season debut will be next Friday

afternoon at Texas.

Albert Pujols opened the scoring with a first-inning RBI single,

his ninth RBI of the spring, but the Dodgers responded with five

runs in the bottom half. Matt Kemp hit an RBI double and Ellis

drove a 2-1 fastball over the center field fence after a two-out

walk to Andre Ethier. Ellis hit 13 home runs last season, his first

as the Dodgers’ regular catcher.

Callaspo reduced the Angels’ deficit to 5-3 in the second with a

two-run homer into the lower seats in the right field corner, but

the Dodgers extended the margin to 8-3 with three in the bottom

half.

Shortstop Erick Aybar drifted under a flyball to short right

field by Adrian Gonzalez with one out and runners at first and

second, dropping the ball after waving off the oncoming Mark

Trumbo.

Aybar was able to get the force at third on Carl Crawford as

Beckett crossed the plate – eliciting an argument between Angels

manager Mike Scioscia and third base umpire Alfonso Marquez, who

would not rule it an infield fly. Gonzalez ended up at first base

and scored behind Kemp on a two-run double by Cruz that Trumbo

missed on a leaping attempt at the fence. That was all for

Vargas.

Josh Hamilton’s edged the Angels closer with an opposite-field

RBI double in the third, and they narrowed the gap to 8-7 in the

fourth with Trout’s homer into the lower stands in the left field

corner. It was only the second of the spring for last season’s AL

rookie of the year, who has 13 RBIs in 57 at-bats.

The Dodgers got their ninth run with two out in the seventh when

Trumbo camped under Andre Ethier’s lazy flyball in short left field

and shortstop Romine banged into him, knocking the ball loose and

allowing Cruz to score all the way from first base.

NOTES: Vargas allowed 35 homers last season, tying him for the

second-most allowed in the majors. … Pujols has three home runs

this spring. He hit seven during spring training last year, his

first with the Angels, then went homerless in his first 27

regular-season games before breaking through on May 6 in his 111th

at-bat – ending a career-worst drought to start a season. The

three-time NL MVP finished with 30, his lowest total in 12 big

league campaigns.